Suburbs to the City

Things to consider before making the move to Boston: 

 

Which neighborhood is right for you?

Each of Boston's neighborhoods is unique. Click on a neighborhood below to learn more about it. Before making the move, it is a good idea to explore these neighborhoods, talk to people who live in and around them and walk through them. Some people consider renting for a year or two to make sure they choose the right neighborhood for them when they decide to buy.

 

Brownstone vs. Full-Service Building

Boston is a mix of brownstone buildings and a variety of mid and high-rise full service buildings with varying amenities.  When searching for the perfect home, it is important to consider which style of living suits you the best.  There are a variety of advantages and disadvantages that come along with both.   Some of the questions below are good to ask yourself to help guide you.

  1. Do you need or want an elevator in your building?
  2. Do you need or want a concierge?
  3. Do you like the idea of having a fitness facility in your building?
  4. How important is having a private outdoor space?
  5. Is garage parking a must have? Would you like the option for valet?
  6. Do you like newer, modern finishes or do you prefer more charm/ character?
  7. Are amenities worth the high condo fee in a full-service building?

Above are some of the key differences between full service and brownstone buildings.  While some people live for charm of living in an original brownstone, some cherish the conveniences and ease of living attained in the full service buildings.  One thing to keep in mind when going over the options, is the difference you will find in the condo fees in a self-maintained brownstone vs. a full-service building with 24 hour concierge, elevator etc. Condo fees at some luxury buildings can be north of $2,000 per month while in brownstones, they can be as low as $200 per month.  

If you like the idea of the brownstone charm but want some of conveniences of a full-service building, there are property concierge services that can offer different levels of service as an alternative. We have extensive experience in both brownstone and full-service building transactions are well equipped to help guide you.

 

Pets

In the past 10 years, Boston has become a much more pet friendly city. However, if you are making the move to Boston and will be relocating with a pet, it is important to tell your agent early on in the process. Often, rental units in older buildings and brownstones will not allow pets, or if allowed there could be restrictions on the size of the animal. 

Many of the newer luxury, full service buildings in Boston don't just welcome pets, they cater to them. At 345 Harrison in the South End, for example, there is a rooftop dog park. In other buildings, they host outdoor cocktails events so that residents in the building can bring their dogs and mingle.  At the Via in the seaport they even have a resident pup, Millie V. 

Once you have found a home with your pet, there are many outdoors spaces to take them for a walk. You can also spoil them at one of the city's boutique pet shops, like the PolkaDog Bakery in the South End. 

 

Proximity to Airport

At 1 Harborside Drive, Logan International Airport is located in East Boston. Unlike other major international airports, Boston travelers do not have to drive 45 minutes from the city to get to their gate. If you are a Boston resident, most trips to Logan should take no longer than 25 minutes, regardless of your location. Not only is it a quick trip, but there are several different ways to get from your home to your flight. 

  • Taxi/Uber/Ride Share - During off peak hours, car trips to Logan from Back Bay, Bay Village, Midtown and South End take around 11-15 minutes. From Southie and Beacon Hill, the trip can be as quick at 8 minutes. However, the trip is fastest if you live in the Seaport, sometimes only taking 5 minutes. 

  • Public Transportation- MBTA provides both subway and bus transportation to/from Logan. 

    • Bus- The Silver Line SL1 bus runs from Logan International along the waterfront to South Station in downtown Boston. With a place to store your luggage, the bus is free for passengers arriving from the airport and run from 5:30-12:30AM every day. 

    • Subway- If you are planning on taking the subway in, take the blue line. MBTA offers a free shuttle bus from the airport to the nearest MBTA subway station, which is the Airport Station. If you just landed, the best part of your trip will be your free ride on the silver line! That's right, there are free rides to Boston from Logan on the Silver Line. 

  • Water Taxi- Looking to completely change it up? Try a Water Taxi trip to Logan. There are three different services that provide water taxi rides to/from Logan: MBTA Harbor Express runs to downtown Boston's Log Wharf, while Boston Harbor Cruises and Rowe's Wharf can drop you off at multiple locations along the Boston Harbor waterfront. Leave yourself a good twenty minutes for this trip though. Typically, water taxi riders have to wait about 10 minutes at the dock and have a 10 minute ride.

 

Green Spaces

Looking to get some fresh air in the city? Take a walk through Boston’s lush parks, gardens, scenic paths, playgrounds, and more!

  • South End

    • Southwest Corridor, Peters Park, Blackstone Square, Franklin Square, Rotch Playground, Chester Park, Worcester Street Community Garden, O’Day Playground, Ringgold Park, James Hayes Park, Childe Hassam Park, Ellis Memorial Children’s Park, Chandler/Termont Plaza, Community Garden Path, Ink Underground

  • Back Bay

    • Commonwealth Mall, The Esplanade, Hatch Memorial Shell, Boston Public Garden

  • Beacon Hill

    • The Boston Common, Louisburg Square, Phillips Street Park

  • South Boston

    • Lawn on D, Joe Moakley Park, Thomas Park, Sweeney Playground , Marine Park, Medal of Honor Park, Carson Beach, Castle Island

  • Seaport

    • FortPoint Channel Path, Children’s Warf Park, Sea Green Playground, Eastport Park, South Boston Maritime Park, Fan Pier Park, The Harbour Walk, Seaport Common

 

What Makes the City Fun?

Sports

Boston is a big "sports" city.  Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox and the TD Garden, home of the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins, are both located in the city.  Boston residents enjoy short commutes to these fun games on a daily basis.  In addition to professional sports teams, there are many colleges in the area that have some exciting sports games and tournaments including Boston College, Harvard, Northeastern and BU. 

Fine Dining

While some neighborhoods are known for their fine dining more than others, there are innumerable delicious restaurants around Boston.  From North End Italian food to South End Tapas and wine bars, there are options for everyone's palate. View our individual neighborhood pages for some of our favorite spots!

Social Clubs

There are a number of social clubs around Boston that provide an oportunity for friends and acquaintences to join as members.  Many of them have dining rooms, bars and event spaces as well as fitness centers and more.  Some of the clubs in the Back Bay and Beacon Hill include the University Club, Harvard Club and Union Club.  

A few of the other fun things around the city include:

  • Concerts and Comedy Shows
  • Farmers Markets
  • Pop up shops and Breweries

 

Why our clients have made the move from the suburbs to the city:

Whether it is a move to a new luxury, full-service building in the Seaport, a charming Victorian home in the Back Bay or a new gut renovation of a brownstone in the South End, empty nesters are making the move from the suburbs to the city. This generation is drawn to the city because of its energy, convenience and accessibility. Below is an outline of what we have seen as the key drivers for empty nesters making the move and what they are looking for in their new city homes.

 

Downsizing:

Many baby boomers have just become empty nesters or are on the verge of seeing their last child off to college or a first job. For most, this means that having a large backyard and/or numerous bedrooms is no longer necessary and these luxuries become more of a burden to upkeep than they are worth enjoying. The ability to downsize into a living space that is comfortable and cozy but still offers space for the kids to visit in a fun environment makes a move from a single-family home to a condo attractive. Additionally, the decrease in square footage often means a decrease in cost and efforts related to landscaping and other maintenance. For many, this maintenance-free lifestyle is quite enticing. A small private outdoor space with a view where one can enjoy morning coffee or entertain small groups of people often provides as much enjoyment for empty nesters than the large backyard they may be leaving behind. A home purchase in the city becomes more about the location and design of square footage than the quantity of square footage.       

 

Pace of City Living:

A number of baby boomers arrive in the city seeking a new, exciting change of pace.  The city of Boston has become a vibrant and active place to live and work. The bustling atmosphere of downtown offers exciting new restaurants to explore, bars to try, performances to attend, weekend markets, charitable events to participate in and more.

Many of the new, luxury buildings in Back Bay, South End, Downtown and Seaport offer a host of in-house amenities and community spaces allowing for social events, exercise classes and the like which brings people together in the space where they live. Some meet each other and build an internal community. The Back Bay and South End neighborhoods offer a bit more of a neighborhood experience across buildings/ row houses. On weekends, neighborhoods will host “stoop parties” or gatherings in local parks. With less time spent focusing on children, baby boomers enjoy these opportunities to keep busy and meet new people.

When choosing a location to live, baby boomers often make note of the type of community they will be buying into.  While some prefer the innate community feel of a luxury, full-service building with organized events and spaces for social gatherings, some prefer the neighborhood feel of the South End, Back Bay and Beacon Hill.  Often, this becomes a key factor in the decision process for our city clients.

 

Easier Commute + Lower Upkeep Costs:

Moving to the city can offer a significant decrease in commuting time to work and a homeowner’s maintenance and upkeep responsibilities. Mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, replacing a roof and painting a house are just a few of the tasks that are alleviated when one moves from the suburbs to the city.  Whether one is moving into a managed building or not, the cost and time necessary to upkeep a condo in the city tends to decrease substantially from a suburban home.

Many of the luxury, full-service buildings provide a comprehensive variety of concierge services and hotel-like conveniences that allow residents to live without thinking about home-maintenance. Some add on services that have been included in some of tese new projects include full fitness centers, spas, dog walking services and valet parking. Another aspect of these buildings that attract the baby boomer generation as they think about their future is the accessibility factor of elevators and the opportunity to obtain one-floor living.

Back Bay, Beacon Hill and the South End offer smaller luxury boutique buildings with elevators and concierge services, however the majority of homes are brownstone row houses often made up of two or three condos. While brownstones often do not offer on-site concierge service, the option for full property management and add-on concierge packages to make city living seamless is still an option.

The consideration of stairs vs. elevators, options for concierge and a low home- maintenance lifestyle are all factors that are considered when empty nesters start their home search in Boston.

 

Adjustments

Parking in the city can definitely be an adjustment for some of our clients who are moving to the city. Not all condo units come with a parking spot and typically, they are not as convenient as parking in a private driveway in the suburbs.  While, in the Back Bay, South End and Beacon Hill, all homeowners receive a free, resident, on-street parking permit, deeded spots come at a premium. Uber, Instacart as well as other transportation and delivery services are available and growing which alleviate this inconvenience. The good news is our clients in the city realize the need for a car diminishes and they actually enjoy the walkability of Boston.

While each of our clients has their own reason for making the move from the suburbs to the city, these are the trends that we have identified.